With 65% of B2B businesses citing them as being the most influential type of content marketing, a B2B case study is one of the top ways management consultancies can highlight their value and expertise within their industry.
As a marketing tool, a B2B case study shouldn’t be an obvious plug for your firm, but a relay of primary research and study to promote your expertise in industry and knowledge of your clients’ needs. Clients will simply switch off if they sense your case study is an obvious plug.
So why are case studies so effective, and how can you create a valuable one for your firm? This blog will explain the benefits of case studies, and how to create a compelling study for prospective clients.
Why Is A B2B Case Study So Effective?
Social Proof: Case studies provide social proof for B2B buyers. Social proof is 12-times more trusted than copy from firms themselves, so before committing to a consultancy, prospective clients conduct online research for peer reviews and testimonials–with case studies being one of the most popular choices.
Credibility and Evidence: Alongside social proof, a B2B case study cements your consultancy’s credibility. It provides crucial evidence demonstrating how your firm has been used by real clients–clients that are happy enough with your service to be the subject of your case study. Within such a competitive market, being endorsed by clients will establish credibility with new clients.
Unique Content: A B2B case study will provide your consultancy with crucial content that’s unique to your firm. With a multitude of professional services firms churning out similar content every week, creating unique content is akin to striking oil within the competitive landscape.
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How to write a B2B case study
To create a convincing B2B case study, it has to be compelling for the reader. All too often, case studies are dry, generic and hard to digest. With the average attention span falling to between 7-10 seconds, your content HAS to be engaging to ensure your audience reads the study. We’ve developed a plan for our clients to ensure your B2B case study is as in-depth and engaging as it can be.
The research stage:
- Determine a recent client project that yielded interesting/surprising results. This will make a more interesting, compelling case study. If your answers are the same as everyone else then your firm won’t stand out.Note: Try to choose a client you can name: using a well-respected firm’s success story will always be a plus, as it enforces social proofing and adds to your credibility.
- Contact the client. Case studies are much stronger with a client testimonial. Yes, it shows that they had a problem, but it also shows they knew about it and fixed it efficiently.
- Present the client as a success study—not yourself. The case study needs to talk about the success of the client, not your success. Of course, your firm’s results and research will take up the majority of the study but focusing on your client will produce a compelling, credible piece of content and avoid becoming a long and obvious sales pitch.
Preparing the B2B case study:
- Focus your analysis: Before writing your first draft, make sure you thoroughly read and examine the case by highlighting relevant facts and underlining key problems and key solutions. Identify 2-5 key problems that arose. Why did they exist? What issues did they cause?
- Note the solutions your firm tried: Review internal discussions and possible solutions your team thought of and why—this will showcase your expertise within the field and show the depth of which you took this problem seriously.
- What was the solution? State what worked and why, highlighting the key data from this research.
Writing the B2B case study:
- Introduction: Introduce the client and the reasons they approached your firm. Identify the key problems they were having. Is this a common problem within the client’s industry?
- The solutions: Outline the solutions your firm deliberated. Explain why some solutions were rejected. Highlight the chosen solution and why this was; providing internal and researched data that supports this decision.
- Include reflections: Testimonials from team members on the project are great resources. Gather what they found most interesting, what they’d do differently and what they’d keep the same. This gives an honest, open take on the project.
Finalising the B2B case study:
- Read through your draft multiple times. Make sure that the study is succinct and easy to read. Remove anything that doesn’t contribute to, or answer, your overall topic question, and let someone else read over the final draft to check for mistakes you’ve missed.
- Make sure the design of the study is engaging. Don’t follow the crowd with a black text on a white background. For inspiration, check out this and this example of engaging case studies.
- Break up the text as much as possible. One thing that turns people away from case studies is the amount of text on a page. By breaking up the text, you make the read less daunting. You can do this by drawing out some key stats and data in pull out boxes.
Case studies establish your management consultancy as thought leaders and experts within your field. By showcasing your firm’s in-depth research, primary data and client solutions, you’ll attract more right-fit clients.
They should be a part of regular insightful, high quality content distribution. Ideally, after every closed client project, you should reach out and collect information for a case study. All information collected doesn’t necessarily have to be used, but adds to your content resources.
If you want to find out more about other ways to position thought leadership within your firm, check out our thought leadership distribution programme to see how else you can enhance your credibility and become a major influencer within your industry.